TOKYO/BERLIN --- In a fresh bid to win its first major foreign arms deal since World War II, Japan is proposing its P-1 submarine hunter for a French-German project to develop a marine surveillance aircraft, two Japanese government sources said.
Discussion between the three governments began last year. Japanese officials also asked Kawasaki Heavy Industries, which makes the P-1, to discuss possible partnerships with France's Dassault Aviation and Thales SA, said the sources, who have direct knowledge of the proposal but are not authorized to speak to the media.
"If they try and build it from scratch it will cost a lot and their potential market is small, even if Spain or other European countries buy it," one of the sources said of the European project.
But the P-1 may be a tough sell in a competition with plenty of home-field heavyweights.
Airbus has said it is exploring military applications for its A320neo passenger jet family, including a maritime patrol version. Two European defense sources said French planemaker Dassault Aviation is ready to adapt its Falcon 8X business jet for such missions. Both companies declined to comment.
Boeing is also likely to offer its P-8A Poseidon.
"We have introduced the P-1 to other countries with the backing of the Japanese Defense Ministry," a Kawasaki Heavy spokeswoman said. "However, we are not able to discuss individual cases."
Japan's Defense Ministry did not respond to a request for comment. (end of excerpt)
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